Seven Agile Coach Failure Modes


you are. Just notice and pause. After a while, you can decide if you want to continue this way or change.

Pairing is good for coaches, too. Maybe even essential. Cultivate a group of colleagues you can call on when you feel a failure mode start to take hold. These are people who can commiserate with you and remind you: you're going for high-performance; for a self-monitoring, self-adjusting team. And, with that renewed goal firmly in mind, you can put the ego in check, focus your attention and get ready to coach from a place of trust. 

[1] See, for example, John Kabat-Zinn, A.D.D. Nation in Coming to our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness , Hyperion: 2006. Also, Linda Stone, Continuous Partial Attention - Not the Same as Multitasking , Business Week, July 2008. For a recent example of disastrous results when multitasking, see articles on the California train crash that killed 25, like this article on .

[2] Noel Tichy. The Cycle of Leadership, How Great Leaders Teach their Companies to Win . Harper Business: 2002. 161.

[3] Any books on mindfulness meditation by John Kabat-Zinn are a great way to start a mindfulness practice. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life ( Hyperion: 2005) is a winner, as are John's audio books and meditation tapes. One such audio book is Mindfulness for Beginners (Sounds True: 2006).


About the author

Lyssa Adkins's picture Lyssa Adkins

Since 2004 Lyssa Adkins has taught Scrum to hundreds of students, coached many agile teams, and served as master coach to many apprentice coaches. In both one-on-one settings and small groups, she enjoys a front-row seat as remarkable agile coaches emerge and go on to entice the very best from the teams they help. Prior to agile, Lyssa had more than fifteen years of expertise leading project teams and groups of project managers, yet nothing prepared her for the power of agile done simply and well. Lyssa authored Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition.

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